Tip Reporting Form 2017 Released

tip

The IRS recently released its 2017 Form 8027Employer’s Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips. This form generally must be filed by employers who operate large food or beverage establishments. A large food or beverage establishment is a food or beverage operation:

  • That is located in the 50 states or in the District of Columbia;
  • Where tipping of food or beverage employees by customers is customary; and
  • Whose employer normally employed more than 10 employees on a typical business day during the preceding calendar year.

Form 8027 (and Form 8027-T, to be used when filing more than one paper Form 8027) must be filed by February 28, 2018. However, if an employer files electronically, the due date is April 2, 2018. Employers required to file 250 or more Forms 8027 must file electronically.

Click here for more information and instructions.

Limits Announced for FSA, QSEHRA and 401(k)

The IRS has announced that the contribution limits for health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements (QSEHRAs), and 401(k) retirement plans will increase in 2018 as follows: FSA, QSEHRA & 401(k) Limits Announced

  • Health FSAs: The annual dollar limit on employee contributions to employer-sponsored health FSAs will be $2,650(up from $2,600 for 2017).
  • QSEHRAs: The total amount of payments and reimbursements by the employer will not be permitted to exceed $5,050 per employee(up from $4,950 for 2017) or $10,250 per family (up from $10,000 for 2017).
  • 401(k) Plans: The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k) plans will be $18,500 (up from $18,000 for 2017). The catch-up contribution limit for those aged 50 and over will remain unchanged at $6,000.

For more information on these and other new tax benefit limits, please see IRS Revenue Procedure 2017-58 and IRS Notice 2017-64.

Final 2017 Forms 1094 and 1095 Available

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released the final forms and instructions for Forms 1094 and 1095 for calendar year 2017 reporting. Employers are required to report in early 2018 for calendar year 2017.

2017 Forms and InstructionsFinal 1095 C Form
The following calendar year 2017 reporting forms and instructions are now available:

Information Reporting Deadlines

The deadlines for submitting Forms 1094 and 1095 are as follows:
  • Applicable large employers (ALEs)—generally those with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)—must file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS no later than February 28, 2018 (or April 2, 2018, if filing electronically). ALEs must also furnish a Form 1095-C to all full-time employees by January 31, 2018.
  • Self-insuring employers that are not considered ALEs must file Forms 1094-B and 1095-B with the IRS no later than February 28, 2018 (or April 2, 2018, if filing electronically). A Form 1095-B must also be furnished to “responsible individuals” (who may be the primary insured, employee, former employee, or other related person named on the application) by January 31, 2018.

IRS Warns of New Phishing Scam

The IRS has issued an urgent warning about a new email phishing scam that uses IRS and FBI emblems to entice users into clicking a link to download a fake FBI questionnaire. The link downloads ransomware, which prevents users from accessing data from their devices unless they pay the scammers.IRS Warns of New Phishing Scam

The IRS advises victims of the scheme not to pay the ransom, as hackers often fail to provide access to the data that is held “hostage” even after being paid. According to the agency, people with a tax issue will not get their first contact from the IRS with a threatening email or phone call, nor does the IRS use email, text messages, or social media to discuss personal tax issues.

The IRS advises victims to immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3.gov, and forward any IRS-themed scams to phishing@irs.gov.

To read the IRS warning in its entirety, and to see a sample phishing email, click here.

3 Tax Recordkeeping Tips for Employers

Keeping good records not only makes tax filing easier and faster, but it can also help you monitor the progress of your business, prepare your financial statements, and support items reported on your tax returns. Here are three simple tips from the IRS to help you get organized:

Tax Recordkeeping1. Save Certain Business Records
The following are some of the types of records you should keep:

  • Gross receipts are the income you receive from your business. You should keep supporting documents that show the amounts and sources of your gross receipts.
  • Purchases are the items you buy and resell to customers. Your supporting documents should show the amount paid and that the amount was for purchases.
  • Expenses are the costs you incur (other than purchases) to carry on your business. Your supporting documents should show the amount paid and a description showing that the amount was for a business expense.
  • Assets are the property, such as machinery and furniture, that you own and use in your business. You need records to compute the annual depreciation and the gain or loss when you sell the assets.

2. Keep Employment Tax Records 
The following information should be available for IRS review:

  • Your employer identification number (EIN);
  • Amounts and dates of all wage, annuity, and pension payments;
  • Amounts of tips reported;
  • The fair market value of in-kind wages paid;
  • Names, addresses, social security numbers, and occupations of employees and recipients;
  • Any employee copies of Forms W-2 that were returned to you as undeliverable;
  • Dates of employment;
  • Periods for which employees and recipients were paid while absent due to sickness or injury and the amount and weekly rate of payments you or third-party payers made to them;
  • Copies of employees’ and recipients’ income tax withholding allowance certificates;
  • Dates and amounts of tax deposits you made;
  • Copies of returns filed;
  • Records of allocated tips; and
  • Records of fringe benefits provided, including substantiation. 

3. Store and Organize Your Records 

Business owners should generally keep all employment-related tax records for at least 4

years after the date that the tax becomes due, or after the tax is paid, whichever is later. The length of time you should keep other documents depends on the action, expense, or event which the document records.

For more information on other federal recordkeeping responsibilities for employers contact an Expert today!

Upcoming EEO-1 Report Will Not Require Pay Data Collection

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that the upcoming EEO-1 reporting form will not contain pay data collection information.Seal of US Department EEO Commission

EEO-1 Report Change Halted
In July of 2016, the EEOC changed the EEO-1 reporting form requirements, so that private employers with 100 or more employees and certain federal contractors would have been required to report aggregate W-2 income by sex, race, ethnicity, and job group. On August 29, 2017, this change was halted by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Instead, employers should plan to comply with the March 2018 EEO-1 reporting deadline by using the previously approved EEO-1 form.

Background
The EEO-1 report is a compliance survey report mandated by federal law. It generally must be filed by:

  • Private employers with 100 or more employees (or fewer than 100 employees if the company is owned by or corporately affiliated with another company and the entire enterprise employs a total of 100 or more employees); and
  • Federal contractors (private employers) subject to Executive Order 11246 who have 50 or more employees and:
    • Are prime contractors or first-tier subcontractors, and have a contract, subcontract, or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more; or
    • Serve as a depository of government funds in any amount; or
    • Are a financial institution which is an issuing and paying agent for U.S. Savings Bonds and Notes.

Contact an Expert today for more information on the EEO-1 Report!

IRS: Health FSAs Cannot be Used for Insurance Premiums

A recently released IRS letter reaffirms the agency’s view that funds from a health flexible spending arrangement (health FSA) may not be used to reimburse health insurance premium payments or Medicare premium expenses.

Having regular talks with employees could be a better way to gauge their performance.

Certain Premiums May be Deducted
The IRS letter points out that health insurance premium payments, including those for Medicare, may qualify for purposes of the itemized deduction for medical expenses. However, only premiums for which the taxpayer is not claiming a separate credit or deduction can be included as part of a medical expenses deduction. Additional restrictions apply to this deduction. For more information, please see IRS Publication 502Medical and Dental Expenses.

Click here to read the IRS letter in its entirety.

Taming the Productivity Killers

From water cooler gossip, to interminable meetings, to hours wasted scrolling through social media, the modern workplace is teeming with threats to employee productivity. These distractions are taking a toll: several recent surveys show that U.S. employees are spending a mere 40-50% of their workdays engaged in job-related tasks. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to help employees avoid common productivity pitfalls.

Productivity and engagement are crucial to retention.

  • Properly Train Employees: Whether it is on-the-job training, formal courses, or online learning, any investment you make in employee training is an investment in productivity. Properly trained employees are more effective, more likely to stay at their jobs, and less likely to expose your organization to unnecessary risks and liabilities.
  • Avoid Burdensome Meetings: Before scheduling a meeting, consider whether it is necessary to accomplish your goals. Invite only essential personnel, and always draw up an agenda of items to be covered and distribute it in advance. Finally, communicate start and end times for the meeting as a whole and each agenda item, and stick to the agenda to the best of your ability.
  • Be Proactive in Reducing Gossip: An office subject to constant gossip will ultimately suffer from poor morale and lower productivity. To stem the chatter, managers should communicate with employees regularly about issues that affect the company, their departments, and their individual positions. This will foster an environment of trust and transparency, and diminish the appeal of the rumor mill.
  • Digital Distractions: While electronic communication has revolutionized how we work, it also has the capacity to impair our efficiency. For instance, computers help us work faster, but also make it easy for employees to “check out” during the workday with online shopping, entertainment, or social media. To ensure that technology does not become an impediment to productivity, employers should establish email, internet, and social media use policies, and train employees on each of these.

For more employee management tips, contact us!

Update: New I-9 Released as of September 18, 2017

Don’t forget!  As of September 18, 2017, you are now required to use the most recent version of Form I-9.  The new form can be found and downloaded here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9

For information on solutions that help you maintain I-9 compliance, please contact Sabrina O’Brien at 480.302.6444 x 607 or by email at sobrien@payrollexperts.com.

Arizona Employers Need to Update Employee Handbooks

Employment law changes and evolves. Best practice for employers is to have an experienced employment attorney review and update their employee handbook to be in compliance with labor laws. At a minimum, the following areas need to be addressed to have an up-to-date employee handbook for Arizona employers.

 

Proposition 203, Arizona Medical Marijuana Act

In November 2010, Arizona voters approved Proposition 203, which is now known as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (“the Act”). The Act applies to all employers regardless of how many employees they have or their annual revenue. The Act prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals with medical marijuana cards. When an employee tests positive for marijuana, the employer cannot discriminate against that employee if they provide proof they have a medical marijuana card. An employee cannot, however, be impaired by marijuana while at work. There is also a “safety sensitive” exception that allows an employer to terminate or refuse to hire an employee if the employer believes, in good faith, that the employee’s job duties are such that they affect the safety or health of the employee or others. An experienced employment attorney will discuss which employees may be exempt as “safety sensitive.” Additionally, that attorney can also revise drug and alcohol policies to ensure the employer is complying with the requirements of the Act. Refusing to hire an employee or terminating an existing employee because they have a medical marijuana card can land an employer in serious trouble.

Proposition 206, Arizona’s Paid Sick Time Law

In November 2016, Arizona voters approved Proposition 206, which is now commonly referred to as Arizona’s paid sick time law. The new law requires employers to provide 1 hour of paid time off for  every 30 hours  worked up to a maximum of  40 hours per year depending on the size of  the employer. There are very expensive penalties  and/or  consequences  for non-compliance.   Employers need to have a well-written policy in place and need to understand their obligations.

Social Media Policies

Many employers have social media policies that violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) because they prohibit the employee from engaging in “concerted activity.” If an employer terminates an employee because he or she violated their social media policy and the National Labor Relations Board determines that the policy violates the NLRA, the Board has the authority to order the employer to pay lost wages and reinstate the employee. The Board also has the power to order that the employer redact and revise any portion of their handbook that violates the NLRA. It is important to have a well-written social media policy in place and to understand the requirements of the NLRA.

Discrimination

A few months ago, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against employees based on their sexual orientation. This was the first federal Circuit Court to reach this conclusion. Many believe the Seventh Circuit’s decision will eventually be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Even so, there are city ordinances, including several Arizona cities, that prohibit such discrimination. In addition, the law prohibits discrimination against employees who fail to conform to gender stereotypes (i.e., a gay man acting feminine or a lesbian acting “manly.”). Many anti-discrimination policies don’t take this into account.

These are just some of the  provisions  that are missing in many Arizona employee handbooks.  Additionally, an experienced employment  attorney will review the employee handbook to ensure compliance with federal labor laws.     

About the Author :  Jeffrey Silence  is an employment law attorney at Jaburg Wilk .  He helps employers with challenging employment law issues including employee handbooks and restrictive covenants.   He  updates most Arizona employee handbooks for a flat fee of $1,750 which includes drafting a Prop 206 (Arizona Paid Sick Time) policy.

Got a Legal Question? Contact Us For More Information…

5 Guidelines for Protecting Employees from Heat Stress

With the dog days of summer under way, it is critical that employers recognize the hazards of working in hot environments and take steps to reduce the risk to workers. Consider taking the following actions that can help protect employees:

  1. Provide heat stress training.Topics you may wish to address include worker risk, prevention, symptoms, treatment, and personal protective equipment.
  2. Schedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day. The best way to prevent heat illness is to make the work environment cooler. Monitor weather reports daily and reschedule jobs with high heat exposure to cooler times of the day. When possible, routine maintenance and repair projects should be scheduled for the cooler seasons of the year.
  3. Provide rest periods with water breaks. Provide workers with plenty of cool water in convenient, visible locations in shade or air conditioning that are close to the work area. Avoid alcohol and drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.
  4. Monitor workers who are at risk of heat stress. Workers are at an increased risk of heat stress when wearing personal protective equipment, when the outside temperature exceeds 70°F, or while working at high energy levels. Establish a routine to periodically check workers for signs and symptoms of overexposure.
  5. Acclimatize workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environments. Allow workers to get used to hot environments by gradually increasing exposure over at least a 5-day work period. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests beginning with 50% of the normal workload and time spent in the hot environment, and then gradually building up to 100% by the fifth day.

Contact Payroll Experts for more information on Safety & Wellness including additional tips for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace!

Summer’s Here and So is Spear Phishing

Cyber attacks and resulting data breaches often begin with a spear-phishing email. Spear phishing differs from regular email phishing in its use of extensive research to target a specific audience, which allows the spear phisher to pose as a familiar and trusted entity in its email to a mark.

Spear phishers seek a company’s valuable information—such as credentials providing access to customer lists, trade secrets, and confidential employee information—and some of their methods include:

  • Directing email recipients to fake (but authentic-looking) websites that ask for information like account numbers, passwords, or other credentials; and
  • Inducing recipients to click on links or attachments that download malware onto the recipient’s computer. The malware often allows the phisher to steal passwords and sensitive data by, for example, tracking keystrokes.

The IRS offers the following tips to protect against spear phishing:

  1. Educate all employees about phishing in general and spear phishing in particular.
  2. Use strong, unique passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Also, remember to use different passwords for each account.
  3. Never take an email from a familiar source at face value, especially if it asks you to open a link or attachment, or includes a threat about a dire consequence that will result if you fail to take action.
  4. If an email contains a link, hover your cursor over the link to see the web address (URL) destination. If it’s not a URL you recognize, or if it’s an abbreviated URL, don’t open it.
  5. Poor grammar and odd wording are warning signs of a spear-phishing email.
  6. Consider calling the sender to confirm the authenticity of an email you’re unsure of, but don’t use the phone number in the email.
  7. Use security software that updates automatically to help defend against malware, viruses, and known phishing sites.

For more information click here and contact Payroll Experts directly to learn more ways on how to protect confidential employee information.

USCIS Releases New Form I-9

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility VerificationBy September 18, 2017, employers must use only the new version.

New Form Released by USCIS

Compliance Dates for New Form I-9
The new Form I-9 features a revision date of July 17, 2017. While employers may continue using a Form I-9 with a revision date of November 14, 2016 through September 17, 2017, as of September 18, 2017, employers must use only the new version.

Changes to Form I-9
The following revisions have been made to the List of Acceptable Documents section of the new Form I-9:

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) has been added to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer are now able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Section 2 and Section 3.
  • All the certifications of report of birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) are now combined into selection C#2 in List C.
  • All List C documents have been renumbered except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on List C has changed from List C #8 to List C #7.

The new Form I-9 can be downloaded here.

For more information or to learn more about ways Payroll Experts can keep you in compliance with ever-changing laws, please contact us today!

What Employees want from HR Technology

Hard copy papers and binders are on their way out, and online interfaces are closing in. As companies plan on investing in HR software and technologies in the future, keep these three expectations and wants of the employees who will be using them in mind:

Utilization of the user experience
The concept behind the user experience (UX) is making functions easy and interactive so that consumers can get the most out of an application.

According to Personnel Today, “People want to spend money on the features that will save them time, but they’re not much value if no one wants to adopt the system because it’s too difficult to use.”

However, even with customer feedback, UX is hard to quantify. Regardless, it works best when the system is designed with the user in mind. It’s not so much about the technical aspects, but the actual experience of someone navigating and interacting with the site. HR pros are stretched for time as it is, and they need a simple, streamlined technological interface to generate more satisfied employees and employers.

Communication on all fronts
HR operates on a wide range of subjects: from talent recruitment to payroll to performance to benefits, etc. Springing for technology with an open line of communication creates an atmosphere of open communication in the workplace. Companies are moving away from the traditional nine-to-five in office hours and are adopting flexible schedules such as work-from-home opportunities and the addition of non-local employees. Allowing for more than just verbal communication can help stimulate fresh ideas and collaboration.

Online communication Online communication can spur innovative ideas.

HR technology makes information more readily and easily accessible. Online databases are equipped with day-to-day human resource support to answer any and all questions with expert consulting. This way, reliance is put on credible people who can handle an outpour of questions and concerns, freeing up HR departments’ time to focus on other areas of business.

Mobile mobility for millennials
The Census Bureau reported that millennials represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population, outnumbering the 75.4 million baby boomers. That means tech-savvy individuals will continue to span the workforce expecting the same level of digital savvy from their employers. Therefore, HR departments must embrace technology to stay current.

Consumers have purchased more than 1.6 billion smart phones since the the technology was first introduced. That means most employees are accessing information on their phones. Putting human resource information available via mobile would increase the amount in which they are used. The act of incorporating mobile-friendly technology puts companies ahead. In addition, the mobile platform can reduce the amount of clerical tasks for human resource departments.

Overall, the effective management of a human resource department’s technology is a key source for a competitive and thriving business in today’s age. For the implementation of a HR management technology to be considered successful, the employees and employers must be using the technology effectively and measurably. Interactive technology combined with a strong managerial human resources team can add value to an organization as a whole.

What will the Proposed Overtime Rule do to Workplaces?

The proposed changes to overtime pay by the Obama administration would give nearly 5 million Americans working in white-collar jobs extra pay, according to the Pew Research Center. However, if enacted as it currently is, it could also break down the corporate ladder for many, business owners told The Society for Human Resource Management website. Some companies could eliminate certain positions in an effort to save money.

It could also create a lot more paperwork and regulations for corporate human resources to follow. Human resource management systems might need to keep tabs on how long employees work each day to make sure they don’t over eight hours or 40 hours a week.

New thresholds
The Department of Labor’s proposal raises the threshold for those currently exempt from overtime pay to $970 per week or $50,440 a year. Set in 2004, the current baseline is $455 per week or $23,660 per year for employees working over 40 hours a week.

Under the proposed plan, the threshold would automatically rise each year based on the Consumer Price Index or on wage percentiles, according to the Pew Research Center.

Meanwhile, anyone may comment about the department’s proposal via a government website until Sept. 4, 2015. The new rate would be a boon to many employees, but most especially to single mothers and other women who hold more lower-paying jobs than men, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Companies say a new federal overtime proposal could hurt them.The U.S. Labor Department’s overtime proposals could make climbing the corporate ladder tricky.

Logistical problems
However, not everyone applauds the administration’s move as some companies plan to carefully watch how many hours their employees work, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“It’s a big logistical issue to make sure you’re catching all the time,” Ron Peppe, vice president of legal and human resources at Canam Steel Corp., told The Wall Street Journal, adding that his company already employed a full-time compliance officer to ensure the business meets the proposal’s requirements if it becomes law.

The proposal could lead businesses to cut workers’ hours, hire more part-time employees and curtail certain benefits, the SHRM website reported, in an effort to avoid paying overtime or compensate for having to pay it.

With more employees eligible for overtime, it could prove problematic for white-collar job holders to climb the corporate ladder.

“They may also stop providing the normal career ladder employees may have otherwise had since many assistant manager, retail manager and other lower-level exempt positions may be eliminated,” Robert Boonin, an attorney at Dykema in Detroit, told the SHRM. “Employers may also determine that they need fewer traditional managers, and instead use lead employees to oversee various shifts or departments.”

Hours cut
Donna DiPasqua, president of Subway Management Inc., a restaurant operator in Ocala, Florida, said if the proposal becomes a law it would cause her to cut staff hours at her six restaurants, hire more part-time workers and introduce a lower starting salary to new employees.

Meanwhile, Famous Toastery, a chain of restaurants across North Carolina and South Carolina, recently enacted changes to its employees’ schedules in an effort to stave off the expenses overtime pay would bring.

According to The Wall Street Journal, managers are curtailing their work to 40 hours a week and giving former managerial duties like closing up at night to waiters and waitresses.

The proposal could also affect jobs that require fluidity between work and home. Employees who typically work via smartphones, tablets or laptops from home or on the road could see their hours cut or monitored even more.

Compensating employees more could also lead companies to offer fewer benefits, have workers pay more out of their paycheck for insurance or cut back on matching pension funds.

Improve Employee Onboarding Using HR Management Software

The economy is once again showing signs of returning to levels seen prior to the onset of The Great Recession. This is due in large part to the fact that companies are once again in the market for talented employees who can come in and help the organization quickly reach its operational goals. However, in spite of the fact that organizations are aggressively on the hunt for new talent, signaling a willingness to add to their payrolls, on the candidate side of things, the actual onborading process that organizations have in place could use a bit of an overhaul.

According to the Harvard Business Review, citing data from the Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, 22 percent of organizations polled stated that they didn’t have formal onboarding policies and procedures in place. Additionally, for the companies that did have established protocols when it came to processing new hires, 28 percent stated that their programs were highly successful, while 49 percent revealed that they had only experienced moderately positive outcomes in this area.

The MIT Sloan Management Review wrote that having a streamlined and efficient onboarding process is a crucial first step into getting employees comfortable with the companies they work for. This allows them to retain individuals longer and it helps people better indoctrinate themselves into a pre-established corporate culture.

This is one of the reasons why the integration of a human resource management system has become a priority for companies.

Integrating HR management software can streamline the onboarding process for new hires. Integrating HR management software can streamline the onboarding process for new hires.

How HR technology makes onboarding more efficient
When an employee gets hired at a new company, he or she is oftentimes required to complete extensive amounts of paperwork. This can be related to benefits elections, direct deposit information and other necessary data that is collected and added to company personnel files.

Another often overlooked aspect of onboarding is getting a candidate comfortable in his or her role. This can include shadowing, training and engaging with individuals who are more experienced to help shorten the learning curve.

According to iCIMS, an HR management system that automates many of these processes can have a profoundly positive impact on new hire engagement and productivity. For example, online portals can help employees monitor how far along they are in their training and highlight modules and activities that need to be completed before they become fully ramped.

In addition, these databases can also be a one-stop repository for storing any and all documents pertaining to the onboarding process that an employee can refer back to if need be. These are just a few of the benefits of a company using software and technology when add new members to their staff. However, simply integrating this solution doesn’t automatically guarantee success.

HBR wrote that organizations should never adopt the mindset than an HR management system is a substitute for one-on-one human interaction. This particular tool is designed to develop a stronger bond between the organization, those who have been placed in positions of leadership and the new hire. There will still be a need for those in HR to take a more hands-on approach at times during the onboarding process. The software is simply necessary to shorten the amount of time it takes to get individuals up to speed in their new positions and allow HR professional to focus on more important back office tasks that keep a company moving forward.

More companies will begin to explore the viability of an HR management system and integrate it into their operations. Technology has allowed many areas of industry to improve dramatically. HR is certainly no different.

5 Helpful Tips for Choosing a Human Resources Management System

There are many options available to companies looking to improve the effectiveness of their human resource department using software. Technology advancements have streamlined many business processes, making them more efficient and reducing the number of human errors that occur. While mistakes do happen, using tools that mitigate these occurrences is a smart business practice.

Choosing an HR management system calls for a number of front end considerations to be made. Choosing an HR management system calls for a number of front-end considerations to be made.

However, those heading corporate HR departments and considering the adoption of software may feel overwhelmed with the number of vendors and platforms present in the marketplace. Making a selection can be difficult. Still, there are number of steps that can be taken to ensure that the human resources management system chosen will benefit the organization and make the recruitment, hiring, onboarding and other important processes much more effective:

  1. Understand the benefits of HR software: While many HR professionals may have a general idea of the benefits of tools that automate many of the manual processes they’re used to, CompareHRIS wrote that it is important to have a strong level of comprehension of what these tools can actually do. It may be helpful to narrow down software choices and do a thorough comparative analysis to make the most informed decision.
  2. Highlight business requirements: There are a variety of job functions that HR professionals have to perform on a daily basis. In many cases, an HR technology platform can automate many of these responsibilities. A blog post from emPerform suggested that organizations be clear on areas of inefficiency within the HR department. This could be related to payroll, employee training, tracking attendance, benefits management or collecting and storing candidate resumes for easy access. By highlighting areas where an organization can improve its HR functions, helps to facilitate the vendor selection process when it comes to choosing a platform that will help the HR department improve from an operational standpoint.
  3. Develop a strong knowledge of vendor offerings: Some HR software vendors sell their platforms and then offer little to no follow-up support once it has been purchased and installed. This is why it is important to work with a vendor that offers post-installation customer service and technical support. It may be helpful to interview other companies that have installed the same or similar solution, check Internet forums for feedback on a particular platform, or work with local HR associations to see if they’re familiar with and have used the platform the organization may be interested in. All of these steps can help HR decision-makers be more comfortable in their choice.
  4. Make the selection process collaborative: Before HR leaders make a decision to work with a software vendor, it may be wise to involve others in the process. This can include senior HR representatives and those who may not be as seasoned. The goal is to gain a thorough understanding of the day-to-day challenges faced by these individuals and then collect this information and choose a platform that will mitigate these issues.
  5. Ensure that current IT infrastructure will support the software: When introducing any new technology into a company, those in the information technology department must always be involved in this process. The IT professionals have a strong working knowledge of the systems already in place and will be able to make recommendations on solutions that will integrate seamlessly, or suggest network and other upgrades necessary to facilitate implementation. While it may be exciting to incorporate new software that will streamline the HR department, it can be a frustrating experience to go through an entire installation and encounter operational hiccups. This can be avoided by consulting IT first.

State of HR Tech is Slow, Steady but not Fast Enough for Millennials

A recent study shows that human resource technology is slowly gaining ground with businesses, but implementation of user-friendly software isn’t as fast as millennials want it to be.

According to a SilkRoad, a talent management solutions company, survey of 153 job recruiters from around the world, 30 percent of those polled in the online survey said talent acquisition and management software was making a “slow but steady” impact on their companies. Meanwhile, 24 percent of HR officers said it was too early to know how human resource technology was effecting their businesses.

SilkRoad surveyors described the HR automation process as an “evolution, not revolution” when it comes to companies’ slow embrace of fully-integrated software.

The new findings are in SilkRoad’s 2015 HR Technology Report published this summer.

Still not fully integrated
Half of the human resource officers polled recruit and train for companies with a workforce with more than 500 employees. Nearly a quarter of respondents work in the human resources division of a workplace with more than 5,000 workers, according to SilkRoad’s report.

While the majority of the respondents – 55 percent – said that they use a software to handle all of their HR functions, only 14 percent of them said that all of their HR activities are fully integrated into one software system. Many HR departments are phasing out their use of paper, but the majority of those polled said they still used spreadsheets in combination with their HR software.

“Slow but steady progress is good news, but HR technology offers so much more potential,” John Shackleton, SilkRoad’s president and CEO said in a press release. “Use of a tightly connected talent management suite — with the secret sauce of data integration — brings so many benefits, including the use of strategic data, a consistent user experience and increased productivity. It can truly impact business results.”

In fact, the majority of those surveyed said the problems they face when the HR software isn’t fully integrated can be everything from workflow tapering off at times to compliance issues.

A recent study says HR needs to implement mobile technology in the hiring process.A new study suggests HR departments embrace mobile technology.

A big gap
One of the major gaps in implementing new HR technology is reaching out to prospective employees via mobile. A 2015 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study found that more people are using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet to look for work. Almost half of millennials use a mobile device while on the job, and 42 percent of job seekers use their phones to search for new employment for at least 10 minutes a day, the study showed.

Meanwhile, 63 percent of human resource officers in the SilkRoad survey said that mobile HR technology access was something they thought their company needed. However, only 29 percent said they were using it to search for new hires or to fill positions.

Mobile priority
According to SilkRoad, embracing mobile technology should be a priority for HR departments if they want their businesses to stay competitive.

An Information Services Group survey from 2014 made similar conclusions citing that human resource workers need HR technology in order to gain and keep millennial employees.

“As the ‘war for talent’ heats up, CEOs recognize that their employees – especially millennials – expect their interactions with HR departments to be as easy and engaging as shopping on Amazon,” Debora Card, a partner at ISG HR/Benefits Practice said in a press release regarding the study’s results. “Finding and retaining the right employees is also a top concern, and managers are looking to HR technology to provide analytics to help them make better employee decisions.

3 Benefits to Companies Adopting HR Technology

Like professionals in many other fields, those in human resource management are adopting the most progressive and innovative digital solutions to enhance their departments. Here are some ways in which businesses can benefit from adopting the latest HR technological advances:

#1 Heightened talent management
Advances in technology can help transform talent management systems and directly improve HR’s ability to hire. Despite any weakness in the global economy, CEOs are offensive toward slowing growth.

“Once again, we found the issue of attracting, retaining, engaging and growing talent at the top of CEOs’ minds,” executive vice president at The Conference Board said. “Not only was human capital the top-ranked concern on its own, talent- and leadership-based strategies also figure prominently in their responses to other pressing challenges.

Forbes reported ​that innovative technology can uncover core employee traits and then match to company projects accordingly. The ability to predict a candidate’s efficacy before hiring can save a business time and money down the road.

#2 Eliminating paper waste
Sustainability has become a key focus for companies around the globe. To this end, organizations are assessing the ways in which their practices will be held accountable for the global environment long term. The reduction of carbon footprints can be tackled in a multitude of ways, but one is human resource management moving to an online sphere.

Companies adopt technological tools to promote sustainability.Companies adopt technological tools to promote sustainability.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, America still uses 69 million tons of paper each year. Online databases reduce paper usage with tools such as payroll systems and direct deposit. Though they may seem small, these steps have the snowball effect. As a result of direct deposit, employees won’t have to travel to go to the bank which reiterates the conservation of the earth’s resources.

#3 Advanced solutions keep you plugged into the latest
In an ever changing technological environment, companies are looking to stay both relevant and current. According to Human Resource Executive, the HR profession is on the threshold of emerging technological management changes. Just as punch cards and time tracking may seem archaic now, at the time it provided sophistication for HR departments.

Technological innovations will constantly be evolving, and HR departments must be proactive to thrive. Bart van Ark, chief economist at The Conference Board said, “CEOs keep placing their focus on growing top-line revenue supported by bringing new products and services to market and leveraging both innovation and technology to improve processes and operational performance.” Those who not only keep up, but capitalize on these changes can increase both their individual employee and overall company worth.

How HR is Changing its Focus

The human resource department in any company can often be considered its nerve center. The individuals working inside of this critical business unit must not only make sure that the organization employs the best and brightest candidates possible, but they must also make sure that existing personnel are kept happy in their roles.

Thanks to extensive innovations in technology, both tasks are as easy to accomplish as they’ve ever been. Since its inception, big data and analytics have completely altered the way companies do business. The ability to take a much deeper and comprehensive look into the way a business functions so that problem areas can be identified and fixed, while strengths are highlighted and then built upon, has been extremely beneficial to a variety of organizations.

However, this same concept can also be applied to individual departments inside of a company, such as human resource management. These professionals don a variety of caps on any given day, and having tools that makes the job easier is a welcome addition inside of many HR divisions.

Human resources adopting analytics and data has made the recruitment and retention processes much more people focused.The adoption of analytics and data by human resource staff has made the recruitment and retention processes much more people focused.

People are now more important than talent
Prior to big data being introduced into the business world, many companies looking to increase the sizes of their staff, were on the hunt for the most qualified job seekers available. However, the competition became stiff as organizations often found themselves trying to recruit the same individuals. Therefore, a change was in order.

In article written by Josh Bersin in Forbes, people analytics is a technology-based strategy designed to merge business data into HR functions. Not only does this method make the recruitment process more data-centric and strategic, but there is also an added focus on retention, something that many companies may not have made a priority before.

These days, companies understand the importance of holding on to their staff members, particularly the ones who routinely perform at a high level, while also being able to attract candidates with the ability to come in add value from the first day of hire.

In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Christopher Mims wrote that today, many companies now view their employees as assets and treat them as such, all with the help of data.

“In a modern corporation, data is a kind of currency,” Mims stated. “Measuring and acting on things once viewed as ‘warm and fuzzy,’ like whether employees feel recognized for their work, has had a quantifiable impact on retention and productivity.”

Why human resources management systems are the future
HRM software is an advancement that has helps to streamline HR and make the department itself more efficient. Now, those in human resources have a wealth of information at their fingertips that can make employee recruitment and retention much easier.

It is innovations such as these that are pushing HR into the future. Industry professionals would be wise to keep themselves abreast of the latest technology trends that can help make achieving success in this multi-faceted role, easier.

Affordable Care Act Updates

See More

HR News Alerts